Girl Geek Week: Yes, Handmade Jewelry is Cool

So, a couple of the prizes in the freaking fabulous contest were a few jewelry designs made by yours truly. I worked at a bead supply store back in college and started getting into it because I have some metal allergies. Well, that…and I can make a lot of the pieces you’ll see in the store for literally pennies on the dollar for myself.

Planets on the LoomOver the years, I’ve given gifts and have infected other people with the jewelry design bug. Some of the techniques are pretty easy; others are definitely more complicated. Fortunately, I found a haven at a local bead store called Fat Cat Beads. Classes are really inexpensive and I’ve been going through my bead inventory and designing more of my own. My style is a little bit more mod than supreme frou-frou, but I’ve got a few more complex designs that I’ll get into below.

This first picture is the beginning of an part-original/part-patterned design I’m working on that will eventually turn into a cuff bracelet. Right now, my biggest frustration is the size of the seed beads. Loom weaving requires a lot of concentration and if you get beads that aren’t the same size as the others, you can easily lose count and have kind of a warped effect to the design. Owl Earrings As you can imagine, this is also ridiculously time-consuming and I’m nowhere near done. After the beads have been attached to the loom, then there’s the issue of sewing it onto a leather fabric and embellishing on top of that.

Quite a few of the pieces I enjoy wearing have a natural element to them. I fell in love with these little owls and added some fluorite round beads to them. I love natural stones because no two are alike and they often add an unusual or nonrepetitive element to the design. I have some glass leaf beads and ladybugs that I’m playing around with specifically for that reason.peyote stitch bracelets

These two bracelets are hand-stitched using the “peyote” technique. That particular style of bead stitch is extremely old and has been used by Native Americans. The beads don’t stack in a straight line; they are a little zig-zagged. The one on the bottom is black with a transparent maroon which I made to match my corset. Tree of Life pendant with Tiger's EyeThe one on the top was my first attempt at playing around with a design. I really like how it turned out because it’s very three-dimensional. Next I want to play around with square beads of different sizes, including a pile of six-sided dice I have.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve been playing around with the Tree of Life pendant design. While you can use beads for the leaves, I prefer to use gemstone chips because it looks more realistic. This is a fall version of the pendant and I have a spooky one for Halloween I just have to put together. The really cool thing about this design that I learned from Robin, is that you can make several of them and no two will ever look exactly alike.

While these pieces are a little bit more traditional in the sense that they’re not super-girly-geeky, there’s a reason for that. I’ve been focusing on technique and materials at the moment, because I’ve got a few ideas rumbling around in my head that’ll either tie directly into the stories I write or be something perfect for girl geeks.

More to come on that!




June 2011
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